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US Immigrant Workers to Undertake 'Freedom Ride' - 2003-09-10

A coalition of civil rights groups and labor unions will set out on a nationwide bus tour to urge reforms of America's immigration laws.

One thousand immigrant workers from 10 American cities will travel across the United States to seek sweeping improvements in the status of immigrants to the United States.

Foremost they are pushing for legalization of the status of millions of illegal immigrants and changes in federal laws that would allow immigrants to become U.S. citizens more easily. They also seek better protection from exploitation and abuse for undocumented workers, reunification of families and to have the same protection of civil rights that legal residents of the United States enjoy.

Marie Elena Durazo is national chairman of the Immigrant Workers Freedom Ride, which will begin its two-week journey on September 23. Ms. Durazo says the immigration laws are outdated.

“Immigrants, whether they were voluntary or forced, built the United States of America and immigrants continue to build this country into the most powerful nation on earth,” she said. “We want to put the immigration issue back on the agenda of Congress and the White House.”

The coalition is made up of immigrants from more than 75 countries who live and work in the United States.